NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WLUC) - For the eleventh straight year, Negaunee High School won the national title during the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ (AASHTO) 17th Annual Transportation and Civil Engineering (TRAC) Bridge Challenge competition in Park City, Utah.
The EKR Miner Construction team, advised by Kevin Bell, took home first place in the 11-12th Grade Category on May 21 for their bridge’s strength-to-weight ratio.
"I think they made up to five or six test bridges before they got to this one, so, a lot of research went into it," said Bell.
Negaunee High School’s winning bridge model weighed 25 grams but supported 406 pounds. Allowing them to bring home a cash prize of $1,200 for their deck arch truss bridge design. "It's kind of a different bridge that we hadn't done before, and they had to do a lot of research to get the design,” said Bell. “I'm really proud of them."
Six teams competed at nationals in the 11-12th grade division, but over 150 teams applied. "There was definitely confidence from the state competition,” said Keegan Erva, Negaunee High School senior. “We did decent at the state competition, and we were just hoping to do a little be better there."
After eight months building miniature bridges from kits using balsa wood and glue, teams are judged on design and strength-to-weight ratio of the bridge. "They use a Pitsco tester which you put on the tester and spin the dial on the bottom and it puts force down onto it, and it calculates the force," explained Collin Remilong, Negaunee High School senior.
Teams were required to make a presentation and proposal on their bridge to be considered in the competition. "It's a big workload but it's worth it in the end if, you know, work hard on it," said Remilong.